Officials Pledge Help to Pilgrim Baptist Church

January 12, 2006

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The Chicago City Council is paying tribute to a landmark church.

Pilgrim Baptist Church is considered the birthplace of gospel music. It was destroyed by fire on Friday.

Ald. Arenda Troutman chairs the council's Committee on Historical Landmark Preservation.

She says the church can rebuild using the skeleton that remains.

""You can do a lot with a shell and even make it better than before, because 1890s, there was a lot that was missing that we can add onto now, so we can look at this as a blessing,"" Troutman says.

Many aldermen say the city can't give Pilgrim Baptist government money because it's a house of worship. But they're pledging to help with private fundraising efforts.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he will chair fundraising campaigns.

Meantime, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has pledged a million dollars of the state's money to help rebuild a school at the site, and the Pritzker foundation says it will match a half a million dollars in private donations."